Before You Buy a Bra

How toMany years ago, you would have had one type of bra you wore all of the time and you only replaced that one when it wore out. Things have changed! Bras are a part of fashion trends and there is a bra for every occasion. You wear a certain bras to play sports, another to the school and a different one out to a party or gathering.

With all the choices now your bra can match your outfit. Is your strap peeking out from under your v-neck sleeveless tee? Chances are that pink strap under your violet cotton top is something you wanted to have happen and is not a fashion “oops”. Fashion bras are not always cheap either so you need to make sure its going to fit before you invest your hard earned allowance or summer job money on them. Make sure before you buy colorful bras you have at least one nude and one black bra to cover the basics. (photo credit: AP/Victoria’s Secret)

  • Check out this great article at Teen Advice on to make sure you know how to find the right fit.
  • Once you have all kinds of pretty things keep them organized so they last and don’t wear out. Check out this helpful article on organizing your underwear drawer on iVillage.
  • Since bras are worn next to your skin keep them clean. Here is a helpful article on how to wash your bras from

    With all this great information you are now ready to get your basics and splurge on fun colorful bras too and have your investment last a long time.

    Helpful Bra Glossary

    Back Wings – Back wings are the strips of fabric, which extend from the outer base of the cups and secure in the back. Important aspects of the back wings are; stretch vs. non-stretch, the measurement at the widest point (which is usually at the base of the cups), measurement at the closure, and type of close including number of hooks and eyes.

    Balconette – Also known as a shelf bra, Balconettes are a more revealing version of a demi bra. Offering little to no coverage, balconettes create dramatic uplift and cleavage.

    Bralette – A bralette is an unlined, soft cup bra, which resembles a crop top. Bralettes make the teen bra or sleep bra but they do not offer a significant amount of support.

    Bustier – A highly structured garment, which extends from bust to hip. Most bustiers have flexible boning throughout the body of the garment for additional shaping, and close in the back with a long row of hooks and eyes. Additional features may include removable or convertible straps or garters. Smooth bustiers are perfect under special occasion wear as they provide both shaping and uplift.

    Comfort Straps – Comfort Straps are wider than average straps and are usually padded or lined more evenly distributing the weight of the breast, increasing the comfort of the wearer. Comfort straps are an important feature for any woman who has experienced shoulder pain due to her bra.

    Center Gore – The center gore is the piece of fabric, which connects the cups of a bra at the front center. Important aspects of the center gore include; stretch vs. non-stretch – with the non-stretch offering significantly more support than stretch – and width measurement. Bras with low or plunge fronts have thinner center gores making them a good choice to pair with low cut tops.

    Contour Bra – A contour bra has shaped cups, which must have all of the following characteristics; Cups are always padded or lined and they have an underwire. Even unfilled – cups mimic the natural shape of a woman’s body. Contour bras are similar to a molded bra, except molded bras are generally not as highly structured. Contour bras are a perfect choice for any woman seeking a sculpted silhouette, as they offer a significant amount of coverage and control.

    Cookies – Cookies are oval shaped, removable demi pads. These are generally used in bras, which are already padded to create dramatic, yet adjustable enhancement.

    Convertible – Describes any garment which has straps which detach and can be worn in a variety of ways including – criss-cross, halter, strapless or one shouldered. Garments with fully detachable straps are full convertible. Convertible bras are a flexible option since they can be worn with a variety of tops, including boat neck and asymmetrical necklines.

    Corset – A corset is a highly structured, form fitted support garment that extends from the bust to the hip. Most corsets have lace up details, flexible boning throughout the body of the garment for additional shaping, and close in the back with a long row of hooks and eyes.

    Demi – A demi cup bra offers the perfect amount of ‘barely there’ coverage for petite to average figure women. These bras offer less coverage than a full cup and more than a balconette. Demi bras cover the nipple and approximately half to ¾ of the breast, but if it seems like you’re “spilling out” of your demi cup its probably the wrong size.

    Foam Lined – As opposed to padded bras, foam lined bras have a thinner, lining. This lining does not add size, but provides additional shaping as well as protection against nipple show through. A key feature to look for in foam lined bras is stretch foam lining. Stretch foam will create a natural looking silhouette and will keep their shape even after repeated washings.

    Full Cup – A full cup bras completely covers most of the breast, offering both more coverage and more support than a demi cup bra.

    Inner Sling – Inner slings are a support feature. They are curved strips of fabric, which follow the natural curve of the bra similar to an underwire, except soft. Inner slings follow the curve of the bottom of the cup offering invisible additional coverage.

    Minimizer – A minimizer bra reduces the appearance of the bust by up to one cup size.

    Molded – Molded bras have cups, which are machine molded. The cups mirror the natural shape of a woman, for shape and comfort. Molded bras are generally unlined and may be either soft cup or underwire.

    Padded – Padded Bras have some type of padding lining the cups. Graduated padding is thicker at the base of the cups and creates a natural looking silhouette as well as the appearance of increased cleavage.

    Plunge – Plunge bras create the appearance of increased cleavage because of their deep (plunging) front silhouette, angled cups and thin center gore. Plunge bras differ from push-up bras in that they are not generally as heavily padded.

    Push Up – Push up bras create the appearance of increased cleavage using angled cups (which generally have underwires), a variety of types of padding including graduated and cookies, and demi cups.

    Racerback – A back silhouette, which curves in between the shoulder blades. Most convertible bras can be worn racerback, but a true racerback bra is a must-have to pair with racerback tanks.

    Rigid Straps – Non-stretch straps which are generally adjustable. Rigid straps offer more support than stretch straps. Rigid straps are an important feature for Full Figure silhouettes. Some bras have straps, which are rigid in the front and stretch adjustable in the back for additional, adjustable comfort.

    Seamless – A bra constructed without seamed cups. There may be seams in other parts of the bra and still be considered seamless. Seamless bras are a great choice for pairing with clingy knits, and lightweight jerseys since they are virtually invisible under clothing.

    Soft Cup – Soft Cup bras do not have underwires, but may be padded or lined.

    Sports Bra – Sports bras are specifically designed to offer the appropriate amount of support during moderate to intense physical activity.

    Triangle – A triangle bra has triangle shaped cups, which offer the perfect amount of coverage/support for petite to average figures. Triangle bras may be padded or lined but generally do not have underwires, and most have thin straps, center gore and back wings.

    T-Shirt Bra – Designed to appear invisible under even the thinnest fabrics, t-shirt bras are seamless, generally made of microfiber with contour cups.

    Underwire – A thin, flexible wire, which offers added support to the cups of bras, bustier and shapewear. Modern bras are constructed with comfortable underwires, which don’t poke.

    Top selling bra on
    Vanity Fair Illumination Demi Contour Underwire

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